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The 1928 Alden Malabar Junior IMAGINE being delivered to Sonny's Boat Club on City Island, NY, circa 1975
Tony Bianco found her in derelict condition in a CT boatyard and paid a fortune for her: $1,000

As found

As found

A desperate condition

  The transom completely rotten and had to be removed

Damaged planks removed to expose frames and floors that are intact (some)

Sternpost & horn timber mostly sound--frame ends marginal

Cockpit all rotten--cabin trunk & coachroof marginal

Bad frames removed--many bad planks removed

New planks installed by Tony prior to my arrival in 1981;
Tony worked for about seven years in his spare time replacing planks

I believe these must be the first planks installed when I came on the scene

New deck beams--the sheer clamps and beam shelves were servicable

The cabin front--all deck beams were rotten;
We lifted the cabin slightly to facilitate replacing the deck

I went to work on IMAGINE in late summer of 1981; My crew of two teenage boys (Paul Newman shown here) and I removed everything from inside the hull prior to starting;
See "A Story of Priorities"--my first article in WoodenBoat Magazine--Issue #65

Paul is shown chopping out rot for a graving piece

We reefed out old caulking from all existing seams prior to re-caulking

Tony hired Chris--an 85 year old retired caulker from Barbedos--to caulk seams for us

Chris Caulking

Meanwhile, we worked on replacing all deck beams with sawn white oak;
Eliot Greenspan shown here applying varnish prior to installation;
We saved some of the chain plate backup blocks (left)

Paul using an electric screwdriver to fasten beam ends with silicon bronze screws

Tony made the new transom--and vertical frames--from white oak stock

Because planked decks eventually fail and cause rot to frames and planking, I prefer to lay marine plywood decks (heresy!); Here the deck undersides are being prepainted with Sherwin Williams Tile Clad epoxy paint prior to laying

Here Eliot is applying plastic resin glue to the beam tops

We fastened the deck using bronze ring-shank nails driven by hand--Reuel & Paul

We laid the side decks right under the existing cockpit coamings

Inside the hull showing the pre-painted deck over pre-varnished oak beams--nice!

The 54-foot tall mast being varnished;
Various wood components being prepainted (right);
A mess of rigging & tools (left)

The wire halyard winch refurbished;
It was evident that some hardware was original (1920s), and that some was retrofitted

The masthead with a mixture of bronze and stainless steel tangs (after cleaning)

Mast tangs, thumb cleat, and steaming light

The main boom sanded prior to varnish

Tony helping to measure for the outer forestay

Reuel up the mast with the other end of the tape measure

Reuel attaching upper shrouds

Reuel working on the carburetor for the ancient Hercules gas engine

Reuel and neighbor Ted--I built a big tool box out of plywood (left) with removable lid (right) which functions as a work bench set on two saw horses.

Reuel with the Hercules--getting it running after rebuilding it

The monster--salt-water cooled! Note the flywheel in front with fitting for hand crank

We coated the entire bottom with red lead paint prior to antifouling

Reuel fitting a white oak rubrail

Reuel sanding the transom top for the mahogany cap (standing on edge)

Reuel chiseling mortises in the transom cap

Cutting the dado trough in the underside of a mahogany rail cap

Reuel and Cochise with a rail cap--lots of Honduran mahogany

The transom rail cap in place; bulwark caps on; We saved the oak tiller and main boom traveler;
We made all new running rigging--3-strand Dacron;
We burnished and reinstalled the original bronze cleats

A very sweet stern

IMAGINE (named after the assaination of John Lennon) in the slings, about to be launched for the first time in many, many years

Paul and Cochise

In the slings

She floats!



Yes!! John G. Alden Malabar Jr.

Imagine that....

Hauled out for the winter

Kathy and Teresa at the woodenBoat Show in Newport, RI--1985

Heading home to City Island

IMAGINE under sail in Long Island Sound

IMAGINE was sailed by Tony for several years until she was wrecked in an early fall gale... and we restored her again.
She was sold twice after that, and was destroyed by Hurricane Georges in 1998.
We all mourn her loss to this day--there can never be another IMAGINE

I remember sailing IMAGINE on Long Island Sound in 15 to 18 knots of wind when we came upon a fiberglass racing yacht the same size... perhaps a J-30.
The people on board were bundled up in foul weather gear getting soaked; we were barefoot (as always), wearing street clothes and not getting wet at all.
The sea made a perfect curve along IMAGINE'S hull sheer, cleanly releasing at the transom.
We passed and out-pointed the fiberglass yacht, and I will never forget the look of shock on their faces!
Imagine that....